As anyone with a young child and an iPhone knows, children's games are a gauntlet. If you don't have your settings in a safe place, children can easily spend an extravagant amount of money on in-app purchases. The Federal Trade Commission has now ordered Apple to pay back $35 million in in-app purchases to parents.
According to the FTC, Apple did not do enough to ensure that these purchases were made with consent of parents.
Apple CEO Tim Cook is far from happy with the decision. In a letter to employees (posted by 9to5Mac) Cook claimed that Apple had already refunded a number of these purchases, contacting 28 million customers to confirm that certain purchases were, in fact, made with consent. "When some emails bounced," he wrote, "we mailed the parents postcards. In all, we received 37,000 claims and we will be reimbursing each one as promised."
But Apple will still have to pay the $35 million, a decision that Cook claims "smacked of double jeopardy".
Regardless of how fair the decision actually is, it's a wake up call to parents worldwide. There are settings available on the iPhone to help stop these sorts of purchases from going through. If you have children and they play games on your iPhone, it's worth checking that your phone has sufficient protection.